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What is an incentive?

An incentive refers to a reward or benefit provided to users to encourage their engagement and participation, in a research study, usability test, or user feedback session.  

Synonyms: stimulus

glossary bee

When to use an incentive?

  • If you need to gather information from a particular group of users who may be difficult to recruit, incentives can persuade them to participate and share their experiences.
  • Incentives can be used to encourage users to fill out surveys, provide product feedback, or participate in review sessions, which will ensure higher participation rates and more complete data.
  • In cases where users are required to participate in long-term studies or provide ongoing feedback over a broad period of time, incentives can keep them motivated and committed to the research activity.

Benefits of offering an incentive in a research study

  • Quality Feedback: Incentives encourage participants to provide more detailed, honest, and comprehensive feedback. They may be more willing to share their experiences, frustrations, and suggestions when they perceive a reward for their contribution.
  • Positive User Perception: Offering incentives demonstrates that you value and appreciate participants’ time. It enhances the perception of fairness and fosters a positive relationship between users and the research team, improving user trust and willingness to participate in future research activities.
  • Competitive Advantage: Incentives can provide a competitive advantage when recruiting participants or gathering insights in competitive markets. By offering attractive rewards, you can stand out and attract users who may be in high demand or have limited availability.
  • Increased Participation: Incentives motivate users to participate in research activities, usability testing, or surveys. By offering a reward, you can attract a larger pool of participants, increasing the diversity and representativeness of your user sample.

What incentives can I offer for research participants?

  • Gift Cards: Offer participants gift cards for popular online retailers, restaurants, or entertainment venues. This provides flexibility for participants to choose rewards that suit their preferences.
  • Access to research results: Provide participants with early access to the research results or reports that result from the study. This will allow them to gain insights and knowledge before they are publicly available.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Offer participants with professional opportunities, such as free online courses, workshops, or access to industry events and conferences.
  • Certificates: Recognize participants’ contributions by providing certificates of attendance or endorsements in research publications, reports, or on your website. This acknowledgement can be attractive to individuals that are building their portfolio.

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What are multi-step incentives?

Instead of a single incentive for completing a task or achieving a goal, multi-step incentives provide increasing rewards as participants progress through different levels. 

What are non-monetary incentives?

Here are some examples of non-monetary incentives: networking opportunities, co-creation opportunities, recognition and appreciation, early access or beta testing.

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